There are two kinds of people. The kind that love jump scares in horror movies and the kind that don’t. Well, maybe its not that black and white but it can be. For yours truly, jump scares are a thing that has to be done with finesse. Too much, or done too cheaply and it can ruin the experience. Terrified is a film that manages to elegantly pepper in effective jump scares on a level that will have you checking to make sure nobody is under your bed at home following the film.
Terrified, doesn’t focus on one specific house to haunt in its tight, tension-filled runtime. Instead it focuses on a small part of a neighborhood in Gran Buenos Aires. Each resident experiencing horrific occurrences by malevolent forces. Much like in popular J-horror titles, Terrified doesn’t focus on anyone character in particular either, instead it operates with an ensemble of characters in a revolving narrative of haunting occurrences.
From the beginning you are introduced to a couple who eludes to hearing voices in their home and bizarre sounds coming from their neighbor’s home. When one of the characters goes for a shower, her husband begins to hear a loud thumping sound, that he believes is coming from the neighbor’s home. It isn’t long before, he realizes the sounds are coming from inside his home…. More specifically, from his wife’s shower. When he investigates he finds his wife bloody, beaten and levitating pounding from one wall to the other.
When brought in for questioning, he is met by a group of three investigators who very much believe his story. In fact, these three rag-tag individuals offer to assist in finding the source of the entity by moving each of them into haunted adjacent houses on the street to find the source of the evil.
That’s where the real fun and horror begins, and doesn’t let up.
As before mentioned, this film handles jump scares with masterful strings. They are well-executed and constantly a surprise, consisting of well-timed gags and startling imagery, created by amazingly done make up effects (Marcos Berta). The film also does something entirely creative with its interpretation of the these entities.
Demián Gugna does a fantastic job of telling a story with enough depth to possibly create a film franchise in the vein of Insidious. The results are creepy as hell, with a one foot steeped in J-Horror with the other in more traditional haunted horror.
Terrified does a fantastic job of combining the macabre, the startling and straight up genre fun into a nice package that fits well into the wheelhouse of Guillermo Del Toro and Clive Barker.